Early memories flooded my mind and took me back to the time that I was a young girl growing up on Washington Avenue and the little "Mom and Pop" store that was at this location. I knew the proprietors as Mr. and Mrs. Dost. My mother would send us to this little store, from time to time, to get an item or items that she needed to complete her daily or weekly menus and did not want to bother my father with having to stop for them on his way home from work at the Highway Commission. For doing this for her, she would often give us treat money to spend and we eagerly anticipated our next visit. We didn't realize at the time that it was her way of making sure that we never said "no".
I remember how "handy" Mr. Dost was with "the grabber" as we called it; the long handled contraption that let him grab things off the high shelves. We always watched with admiration at those feats and how adept he was with it. I had four brothers at the time and usually two of us went together to make sure that we would watch out for one another. There were occasions when we all would go together when a penny was placed in each of our hands which we would clench tightly in our fists. If we were really lucky, once in awhile we were given a nickel to spend and that was the closest thing to heaven in those days. We would march into the store and I am sure that Mr. Dost probably would have wanted to hide or at least put up the closed sign when he would see us coming.
We carefully scoured all of the array of candies from which we could pick and this was no easy decision making on our part; talk about trying someone's patience. If we had a nickel to spend, we had to ponder in our heads how we could get the most "bang for the buck". Mr. Dost was always so patient with us, never hurrying us to make our choices so we would leave. He just let us take our time and when we finally had decided what choice morsels we would indulge ourselves with, he would put each of our purchases in a very small brown paper bag and amazingly it always just happened to come to the amount that we happened to have. We would proudly march off with our goodies which we tried to make them last as long as we could, not knowing when we might hit another streak of good luck with a much needed item.
When I think back of how much candy that nickle bought, I think Mr. Dost must have added a few extra from time to time. He knew and called each one of us by our names and was considered our "adopted grandpa" and probably being the closest to it that we would ever know because our "real grandpas" were long gone before we were born.
When he died, I was so very sad and felt like I had lost a family member. I remember seeing Mrs. Dost talking to someone outside in her yard after his passing. She looked so sad. I awkwardly walked up to her not quite knowing what to say, but not wanting to interrupt her conversation. She said "Is there something you wanted Rita?" I reached out and gave her a hug and said, "Mrs. Dost, I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Dost." And she said, "Why thank you, Rita." It wasn't long before she was gone from the house and had moved. I don't know where she went after his death, but I will never forget them and the happy memories of a long ago childhood that little store brought to us.
I am so happy to see that the big house is still being lived in; happily restored and being lovingly taken care of.